Sunday, September 09, 2012


Image: Wikipedia Italia

Mystery continues to surround the case of a migrant boat which, according to its surviving passengers, sank off the Island of Lampione on Thursday night.  So far 56 survivors have been saved and helped by Italian and NATO authorities but, since no one knows how many passengers the boat was carrying, Coastguard, Naval and Finance Police crews have no idea how many people they are looking for in what has now become a recovery operation.  Yesterday a second body was found in the area but police cannot be sure that it is the body of one of the migrants on the boat.

Stranger still, no flotsam or items belonging to the passengers have been found in the area, which lends weight to the theory that the passengers may have been deliberately abandoned off the island, whilst the people traffickers who had brought them there sped back to Tunisia.  An enquiry by the Prosecutor's Office of the Province of Agrigento is underway.

On Friday Nicholas Beger, Director of Amnesty International's European Institutions Office, said,

"“The EU is failing these migrants – European countries must make concerted efforts to prevent deaths at sea by stepping up capacity and coordination for search and rescue operations.

While the number of migrants arriving at Lampedusa has ebbed since a peak during unrest across North Africa last year, this latest shipwreck shows that authorities need to remain vigilant and ready to assist large groups of people – potentially including many asylum-seekers and refugees – in vessels that are often overcrowded and unseaworthy.”

Image: Wikipedia Italia

La Repubblica's Palermo edition reports that another 81 migrants were rescued after an inadequate boat ran into trouble 35 miles off Lampedusa yesterday and that last night 11 Tunisians were saved off Pantelleria.

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